17 Row Variations for a Stronger Back and Healthy Shoulders

17 Row Variations for a Stronger Back and Healthy Shoulders

Authored by Audrey on June 9, 2020

Getting tired of the same old row exercises? Don’t worry. Our Fitness Coach, Tim Perry, put together a list of 17 Row Variations just for you! Now you have no excuses. Get your back and shoulders healthy just in time for all those summer activities you’ve been planning.

Here’s the point, guys and gals. If you want to increase muscle, build a stronger back and have strong, long term healthy, pain free shoulders you need to incorporate more rowing into your weekly programming and training sessions.

Building strong and stable shoulders demands you to prioritize more horizontal rowing and lower the amount of volume that you press and vertically row.

Having poor rowing mechanics can result in weakness of the scapular stabilizers, stress on the anterior capsule of the shoulder, rotator cuff pain and decreased neuromuscular performance.

Our Fitness Coach, Tim Perry, has this to say about it: “Biggest issue I see when clients are performing presses, pull-up and even rows is having stress on the front of their shoulder. Poor positioning of their scapula can result in pain.

Your wanting your scapula to move and be able to move along the rib cage during a row. You want your arm to move if your scapula is moving to accommodate your range of motion.

Packing your shoulder blade down can cause anterior shoulder glide and can cause irritation of the shoulder. Allow your scapula to go through protraction and retraction.”

Common Mistakes While Rowing:

  • Aggressively pulling their elbow past neutral or midline causing humeral extension which can result in anterior shoulder glide causing pain.
  • Having your arm to close to your body again, causing humeral extension
  • Neck is extended and not neutral. Make a double chin
  • Internally rotate too much while elbow is extended
  • Don’t allow scapula to protract/retract and keep it in a fixed position
  • Rounded Thoracic Spine preventing the scapula to move like it should
  • Excessive Anterior Tilt (dipping the scapula forward)
  • Anterior Hip Tilt and Ribs flared

Functional Anatomy

Lattisimus Dorsi

Movements: Adduction of humerus, internal rotation of humerus, extension from a flexed position, downward rotation of the scapula.

Rhomboids

Movement: Scapular Retraction

Trapezius

Movement: Scapular Retraction

Here are 17 great row variations:

1.  Single Arm Standing Cable Row

https://youtu.be/V6SAerPSHa8

Coaching:

  • Slight bend in your knees
  • Chest up, neutral back with core engaged
  • Palm down with arm extended to start, rotate hand while rowing
  • Pull elbow to side allowing scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin

2.  2-Arm Seated Banded Row

https://youtu.be/0r-oNLHLTZ8

Coaching:

  • Wrap Band Around Bar
  • Sit up straight without flaring ribs and extending lower back
  • Row to side keeping humeral head neutral

3. Single Arm Seated Cable Row

https://youtu.be/kVvgUa9kdEE

Coaching:

  • Sit up straight without flaring ribs and extending lower back
  • Row to side keeping humeral head neutral
  • Place Plate in front of cable to allow arm to extend
  • Pull elbow to side allowing scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin

4. Staggered Stance Low Cable Row

https://youtu.be/tDvHjokIia8

Coaching:

  • Set Up Cable at bottom of machine
  • Have 1 foot forward and one foot back staying on back toe
  • Row to side keeping humeral head neutral
  • Allow scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin

5. 2-Arm Cable Bent Over Row

https://youtu.be/USyH_xwXwwQ

Coaching:

  • Set Up Cable at bottom of machine
  • Use two handles
  • Row to side keeping humeral head neutral
  • Allow scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin

6. Single Arm Cable Bent Over Row

https://youtu.be/ALazYcH0pjQ

Coaching:

  • Set Up Cable at bottom of machine
  • Row to side keeping humeral head neutral
  • Allow scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin

7. Side Plank Cable Row

https://youtu.be/hIRJmLnZtzc

Coaching:

  • Set Up in a side plank
  • Keep hips lifted off the ground and core active
  • Row to side keeping humeral head neutral
  • Allow scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin

8. Half-Kneeling Single Arm Cable Row

https://youtu.be/2zl4_OujK5Q

Coaching:

  • Front Leg Up, Back Leg on Knee
  • If you row with your right arm, your left leg should be in front
  • Have 1 foot forward and one foot back staying on back toe
  • Row to side keeping humeral head neutral
  • Allow scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin

9. Supine Cable Row

https://youtu.be/dJToO8w_5pU

Coaching:

  • Set Up Cable half way up
  • Lay on your back
  • Row to your side or floor
  • Pull elbow to side allowing scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin

10. DB Row

https://youtu.be/yvay6DGDhfQ

Coaching:

  • Knee On bench
  • One foot back
  • Row in a arc
  • Row to side keeping humeral head neutral
  • Allow scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin

11. DB Banded Row

https://youtu.be/qAOoJ-5srL8

Coaching:

  • Knee On bench
  • One foot back
  • Attach band to bar and wrap around DB
  • Row in a arc
  • Row to side keeping humeral head neutral
  • Allow scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin

12. DB Split Stance Row

https://youtu.be/AC28RouIKeU

Coaching:

  • One foot forward other back with hand on bench
  • Row with right arm while left leg is forward and right leg is back
  • Row to side keeping humeral head neutral
  • Allow scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin

13.  Tripod DB Row

https://youtu.be/9VnUH_9n9bE

Coaching:

  • Feet shoulder width apart
  • One hand on bench
  • Row Db toward hip
  • Row to side keeping humeral head neutral
  • Allow scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin

14. Bird Dog Row

https://youtu.be/lMIKiDMKuMU

Coaching:

  • Right knee on bench, left leg up in the air, left hand on bench, while rowing with right arm
  • Row to side keeping humeral head neutral
  • Allow scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin

15. TRX Row with Feet Elevated

https://youtu.be/JjrtnY-H5HQ

Coaching:

  • Put feet on box or bench
  • Keep body straight without extending lower back
  • Row to side keeping humeral head neutral
  • Allow scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin

16.  Landmine Bent Over Row with Strap

https://youtu.be/RXAtxBgPxfE

Coaching:

  • Use strap around bar
  • Stand to the side of the bar in a staggered stance
  • Row to side keeping humeral head neutral
  • Allow scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin

17.  Landmine Bent Over Row Single Arm

https://youtu.be/-ZJ-gW5_ypM

Coaching:

  • Stand to the side of the bar in a staggered stance
  • Row to side keeping humeral head neutral
  • Allow scapula retraction and protraction
  • Neutral Neck, Double Chin